sunset gin

it’s my own special concoction
utilised on those days
when I waft from room to room
in an unthinking daze
mornings when I feel unsettled
afternoons when I feel blue
after evening tea
when I don’t know what to do
made especially for those days
when I simply cannot win
a magic remedy
that I call sunset gin

no, I’m not gone tell you
what’s in the recipe
just believe me when I tell you
it restores your sanity
a quirky tri-coloured mix
of orange & pink & yellow
all angst disappears
one glass of this & you’ll feel mellow
it’s no antidote for Covid
though troubles it will drown
love me some sunset gin
it’s my solution to lockdown

copyright © 2020 KPM

sunset gin

just wanna stay in my bubble

it’s a good start to the morning
silky scented shower gel
bubbles that bathe my weary body
I face a new day of “new normal” hell

a squeeze of the Fairy bottle
prior to doin’ the breakfast dishes
sends tiny bubbles flyin’
like renewed childhood wishes

outdoors in the garden
red watering can tops up the pond
rainbow bubbles float on the surface
blue tits joyously respond

& at day’s end there’s Prosecco
dancin’ bubbles in crystal glass
alcoholic reassurance
that this too shall one day pass

copyright © 2020 KPM

Just wanna stay in my bubble

work to do

As a young black woman growing up in the States, I often protested against the unequal treatment black people received. A boomer, I protested against many other things as well: the closure of the steel mills in my home town, the unequal pay of women compared to their male counterparts, the decision to admit men to the prestigious all-woman college I was attending.

Then I moved to Scotland. And yes, as some of my new friends have explained to me, I know Scotland is not innocent; I am speaking to my own personal experience. In Scotland I found laid-back, friendly, open and tolerant people. While I did get the odd person who felt free to plunge their hands into my braided hair (never ever touch a black woman’s hair!) I was never followed around in shops. I was never asked “what are you doing in this neighbourhood.” And when a drunk man in a pub used the n-word in my earshot, the patrons in the pub physically lifted him off the barstool and ejected him onto the sidewalk; the pub’s owner barred him from the establishment for a fortnight.

“Dinny think so, mate – off you pop! Ye no gonna say that around oor Kath!”

This was miraculous to me. I had indeed moved to – as I’d been told by one of my new Scottish friends – a “civilised country.” I was able to put the placards and signs away and use my feet for dancing instead of marching. I was able to just be me, unfettered by race.

Still, I diligently kept up with the stateside news; my family and my friends were still in the States. So when news of a certain person’s presidential candidacy was announced, I took to the streets with many of my Scottish friends who – like me – realised that electing this person to office would have disastrous consequences on a global scale.

Then, on the heels of so many other innocent black people, George Floyd was murdered. I wish every day that I had not watched that video, because now I can’t unsee it.

Floyd’s death sparked a movement bigger than any I’d seen since Dr King’s fight to get voting rights for blacks and end segregation. The US. Germany. Brazil. Italy. Mexico. London. Edinburgh. My beloved bonnie Dundee did not shy away, either: BLM Dundee was born, and I picked up my signs again. Braving the pandemic along with my friends and many other outraged Scots, we took to the streets armed with masks and hand sanitizer to make our voices heard.

I thought I was done with protesting. Now at the beginning of those so-called “golden years”, all I really want to do is grow old peacefully with my partner and putter around my garden. That said, puttering peacefully is no longer an option: this is not the kind of world I want to grow old in – this is not the kind of world I want to leave to my nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews. This is not the kind of world we should be leaving to young people of any colour.

Below is the speech I gave at the BLM Dundee protest on Sunday, 26th July. Thank you for reading.

* * * * * *

“Here I am again. Wondering why I am here again. Wondering why we – why people not just in Dundee – but throughout the UK, the US and other places in the world – are having the same conversation about the same wrongs.

Maybe you’re here because you have kids. I don’t have kids, but I do have 10 nieces and nephews. I am a great-aunt to 12 incredible young black men and women. I am a godmother. I am here for them. I see many people have brought their kids with them today. I also stand here for your children, your grandchildren, your nieces and nephews. Because those children – all children – are the future: I am deeply concerned about the kind of world they have inherited, and you should be, too.

They face a world where they have to contend with a virus, which disproportionately affects black and brown people. A world where they have to contend with unstable weather and even more unstable leaders who seem happy to remain wilfully blind to the economic inequalities and daily racist slights and micro-aggressions endured by black and brown people. A world where it is potentially dangerous for black or brown people to indulge in something as simple as strolling down the street, entering their own home or enjoying a drink with their white friends in a club.

Cause make no mistake: while I am delighted and heartened that this movement has garnered so many white supporters, the fact that you are willing to stand here with me – with your black and brown brothers and sisters – here today puts a target on your back as well.

We all – everybody here – need to be mindful of that target. And we must work together to eradicate that target. That means turning up at as many of these protests as you can. It means donating whatever you can to organisations dedicated to improving the lives of black and brown people. It means signing the petitions to remove laws which unfairly impact black and brown people, and working to dismantle the “hostile environment” policy enacted by a government that sees all of us as expendable. It means you must be willing to call out racist behaviour whenever and wherever you see it. It means being willing to educate yourself, because we cannot build a better future without acknowledging and understanding the past.

The poet John Donne wrote “no man is an island….any man’s death diminishes me because I am involved in mankind.” So I say to everyone present today: we are the muscle and sinew and soul of mankind. So we must continue to fight – together – against overt and covert racism whenever it rears its ugly, divisive head. Because at the end of the day, when any blood gets shed, the colour is the same: we all bleed red.

Thank you for listening. Thank you for supporting us. Peace.”

the visitor (for LCL)

when my doorbell rang
my face broke out in a smile
cause I knew it was my friend
whom I’d not seen in awhile

Bryan Ferry was spot on:
love is the drug
so I met her with open arms
Covid be damned – I gave her a hug

into the lounge we went
so she could have a wee rest
there I read her a speech I’d written
for the next BLM protest

then, armed with iced tea
& the usual bottle of wine
we moved into the garden’s
warm afternoon sunshine

the morning rain had vanished
an unexpected treat
joyously we bared our skin
to the early evening heat

together in the garden
we spoke of everything
retaining optimism
for what the future might bring

a girl who’s entered womanhood
a woman near the end of her life
both unmindful of race or class
making plans for a world with no strife

copyright © 2020 KPM

a home in Dundee

everyone needs a sanctuary
mine’s a beige ‘n green dome
a place of love ‘n safety
a carefully created home

thoughtfully chosen
was each room’s colour scheme
to be designed around
an intensely personal theme

happy hours spent in Craft World
to make the wreath for my front door
haunting all the local shops
for the right rug for the lounge floor

with the curtains for each room
I went a little overboard
I wanted what I wanted
so the budget got ignored

lamps, cushions, bookcases
bought ‘n paid for with dispatch
bed linens, bath mats, towels
everything a perfect match

my roots are apparent
about that there’s no mystery
family ‘n friends in frames
honour my unique history

this is my home, my refuge
wherein dwell my fish ‘n me
it’s the place I love the most
my little flat in my bonnie Dundee

copyright © 2020 KPM

a home in Dundee

stupidity runs rampant

I don’t know anyone
who’d choose
to have these rainy day lockdown blues
sadly,
that’s what I got today
what can I do to make them go away?

when I woke up
this mornin’
the sun was beamin’ bright
‘n as I ate my breakfast
I thanked the Lord
for a safe night

I said thanks
for the clothes in my closet
thanks cause my arthritis didn’t hurt
thanks for clean water
to drink ‘n bathe in
thanks for the flowers sproutin’ in dirt

with food in my fridge
a home
to which I can return
I set out on my daily walk
hat on head
to avoid sunburn

there were masked
‘n unmasked people
busily they milled around
it was almost as if
normalcy
had returned to my much-loved town

but then I saw somethin’
that caused me great
despair
unmasked & selfish people
actin’ like
they didn’t care

2 folk about to enter Lidls
but neither person
wore a mask
‘n both loudly
objected
when a staff member took ‘em to task

‘n I couldn’t help but think:
“how stupid are they?
are they not aware?
there’s a virus
with no vaccine
currently ragin’ out there?”

it made me sad
it made me angry
yet I kept quiet
I just wanted wine
fresh flowers
not a potential riot

thus I paid
for my small purchases
quickly departin’ the store
wantin’ only
the safety
of bein’ locked behind my red door

so now I’m feelin’
bummed
which I never meant to be
felled by rainy day
lockdown blues
home alone in my bonnie Dundee

copyright © 2020 KPM

a Dundee Sunday storm

it was 16:05
when the sun came out
a huge smile crossed her face
she almost gave a shout

her sweet peas had survived
Mother Nature’s latest storm
‘n it smelled like Sunday dinner
inside where she was safe ‘n warm

another day of Skyping
all the people that she loves
cyber hugs ‘n kisses
cell phone’s electronic shoves

how did mankind end up here?
she struggles to understand
the hatred, the dissension
hallmarks of a once proud land

copyright © 2020 KPM

depression confession

is that my black dog talking?
or is that the way I truly feel?
with the death of normalcy
sometimes I can’t discern what’s real

recently I had a birthday
which – surprisingly – was swell
thanks to my partner, my friends & neighbours
I dodged a lockdown birthday hell

so it’s hard to understand
why I now feel so bemused
why I’m so desperate for sleep
why my heart feels sorely bruised

it could be that I’m homesick
God knows I miss my family
perhaps I hurt because my homeland
is now a total calamity

I admit I’m worried about money
I imagine others are, too
living off my overdraft
is never a thing I wanted to do

the daily headlines are horrendous
too many innocents are dying
what with folk with fucked-up priorities
‘n racist politicians lying

or maybe I’m just worried
about what is yet to come
for the many marginalized
who’ve yet to hear the freedom drum

I give a shout out to those folks
who tune in here each day
but when I’m sad or fearful
all my words just fade away

so apologies for my silence
I do not mean to be a jerk
writing is usually my solace
but just now, it does not work

copyright © 2020 KPM

depression confession

overthinking

standin’ in my garden
all by myself I stand
tryin’ not to fret
over events in a faraway land

wanderin’ in my garden
just walkin’ to ‘n fro
wonderin’ when mankind
will evolve ‘n grow

strollin’ round my garden
dead rose petals on the path
wonderin’ if current events
are a sign of my Lord’s wrath

just pacin’ in my garden
in a chilly evening sun
musin’ on the return of love
‘n the day racism is over ‘n done

all alone in my garden
on the cement wall I sit
how ‘n why has all this happened –
when did everything turn to shit?

copyright © 2020 KPM

ways to kill time during lockdown

sort all your books ‘n DVDs
into alphabetical order
freshen up a tired bedroom
with a self-adhesive border

when you’re makin’ dinner
cook for more than just two
that way you’ll be left with
a lotta dishes to do

if you have a garden
your own private green space
you can exercise outdoors
music by Beats while joggin’ in place

go through all your closets
organize your clothes
enjoy your favourite wine
dancin’ to YouTube videos

learn a foreign language
paint a masterpiece
clean the grotty oven
of all that baked-on grease

‘s just a tiny sample
of small things I sometimes do
to help me get through lockdown
tell me: what works for you?

copyright © 2020 KPM